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TF: They’re still buying the point of view. And there are a lot of people who buy Gucci who don’t know who I am. That isn’t the point. There is a point of view, there is a focus, and that’s what comes from the designer.
You know, I’m afraid that, unfortunately, PPR sort of felt — maybe they misunderstood my role. I think that they really think that what I do is have my picture taken a lot and go to a lot of parties. I don’t think they understand the work that goes into designing collections.
WWD: Tell me about Stefano Pilati. Even before today’s unconfirmed reports, it was widely believed he would assume the Saint Laurent job.
TF: Stefano is someone at Saint Laurent who I have absolute and complete faith in. It takes a large set of skills to be a chief designer of a company. You have to be a talented designer but that’s only part of it. You also have to be articulate. You have to understand how to work with people. You have to have a vision and a point of view.
WWD: Do you see one of the three people mentioned as likely to take the Gucci positions as being one to take on a dominant role and set the direction for the brand in the future?
TF: I really couldn’t answer that question because I am no longer a part of all of this, so I don’t know if PPR even wants one of these designers to take the lead.
WWD: Have you been consulted in any of this?
TF: No, not at all. I have not spoken to anyone at PPR since negotiations broke down in September or October.
WWD: At a press conference Thursday, Serge Weinberg said Gucci Group might look at franchising stores and licensing, possibly as a way to offset costs.